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The final 2 battle has been set on American IdolCrystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze are the last two standing and will battle each other for the “American Idol” title next week.

With over 47 million votes cast, eliminated last night was Casey James, a native of Forth Worth, Texas. “I never thought I’d get this far,” said Casey to Ryan Seacrest. “But to me, it’s like winning $10 million in the lottery and $100 million in the lottery. It’s so much more than I expected, so it can’t be bad.”

Lee was the first to be announced safe last night, which was no surprise judging by his amazing performance of Leonard Cohen’s classic “Hallelujah” on Monday night.  A performance which moved both the judges and the audience.

And while Crystal, 24, has been the front runner all season, Lee, 23, is steadily catching up. Judge Randy Jackson said Wednesday that Lee had “blossomed beyond belief” since the start of the season.

Next week is the two-part finale during which the 2010 “American Idol” will be crowned live on May 26, and will win a recording contract.

TELL US: WHO SHOULD WIN THE AMERICAN IDOL TITLE? CRYSTAL OR LEE?

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Could the Semifinalists of American Idol’s ninth season have been revealed? That answer is yes according to Joesplace, who has managed to correctly reveal the identities of American Idol’s semifinalists for the last two years. He has now released the alleged names of nearly all of the ninth-season’s Top 24 semifinalists.

Four of those alleged semifinalist include contestants — Katie Stevens, Tyler Grady, Ashley Rodriguez and Jermaine Sellers — whose auditions aired last week during American Idol’s two-night premiere, from Boston and Atlanta.


This spoiler list is even more likely to be accurate because unlike previous AI seasons in which Hollywood Week occurred in the fall and ended with the final 50 contestants returning to California to learn their fates at a later date, this ninth-season’s Hollywood round took place just last week with the contestants learning their semifinalist status on Friday.

American Idol’s ninth-season Hollywood coverage which will feature the introduction of new judge Ellen DeGeneres, is set to officially begin airing on Tuesday, February 9, continuing into the following night. The top 24 semifinalists — 12 males and 12 females — will then officially be revealed on the February 17 show.

According to Joesplace spoilers, 20 of the ninth-season Top 24 semifinalists are:

- Lacey Brown, a 23-year-old from Amarillo, TX

- Michelle Delamor, a 19-year-old from Miami Beach, FL

- Lee DeWyze from Chicago, IL

- David Duke, a 23-year-old from Waxahachie, TX

- Katelyn Epperly from Des Moines, IA

- Andrew Garcia from Moreno Valley, CA

- Christopher “Chris” Golightly from Orange County, CA

- Tyler Grady

- Benjamin “Ben” Honeycutt from Ringgold, GA

- Casey James from Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

- Aaron Kelly, a 16-year-old from Sonestown, PA

- Alexander “Alex” Lambert from North Richland Hills, TX

- Michael Lynche

- John Park from New Jersey

- Ashley Rodriguez from Boston, MA

- Lillian “Lilly” Scott from Denver/Boulder, CO

- Jermaine Sellers, a 25-year-old from Joliet, IL

- Katie Stevens

- Haeley Vaughn, a 16-year-old from Fort Collins, CO

- Janell Wheeler from Orlando, FL

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Ellen DeGeneres is opening up about her new role as a judge on Fox’s hit show - American Idol. The latest season of AI, set to premier Tuesday, January 12th, will feature Ellen replacing Paula Abdul as one of the judges.

When asked about fellow judge Simon Cowell, Ellen had the following to say: “We both like each other and accept one another,” DeGeneres tells Wall Street Journal. “At the same time I think he’s mean and I think he says things in an insensitive way and I don’t think that’s the way to get a point across. I’ve called him on it to his face. I’ll do the same thing to him (on Idol).”

Ellen goes on to discuss the type of judge she aims to be.  The talk show host promises to be opinionated, but can’t promise she’ll be as warm and fuzzy as her predecessor Paula.  “I don’t know if I’ll be as nurturing as she is. She always found a positive thing to say instead of attacking,” says Ellen. “I’ll probably try to be somewhat encouraging. … But I’ll be honest. I don’t think it helps anybody to be encouraged and not told the truth.”

The first couple of weeks of AI will feature guest judges. Ellen will come on the show alongside Simon, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi later on in the season.

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Ellen DeGeneres has been tapped to replace Paula Abdul as the fourth judge on American Idol, Fox announced Wednesday night in a statement.

“DeGeneres will sit alongside Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi and offer her own unique perspective to the contestants throughout the competition,” Fox television says.

Ellen, 51, will begin her stint after the audition rounds, which will feature a rotating group of celebrity guest judges including Shania Twain, Victoria Beckham, Mary J. Blige, Joe Jonas and Kristin Chenoweth.

Ellen also confirmed the announcement at her talk show taping Wednesday, “I’m going to have a day job and a night job,” assuring her audience that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will continue. “This is so exciting for me.”

Former judge, Paula Abdul, abruptly announced she would not be returning to the show on her Twitter page back in August. It is said to have been due to contract negotiations. Paula felt she deserved more money than what AI was offering.

American Idol’s ninth season kicks off January 2010.

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The ninth season of American Idol will premiere in January 2010 without Paula Abdul. American Idol isn’t the same without Paula Abdul, says Simon Cowell.

Simon, 49, tells Extra the show is now “different. It’s like comparing a carrot to a banana… They are different.”

On the ninth season, judges Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi return – along with celebrity guest judges, including Victoria Beckham, Shania Twain, Mary J. Blige and Katy Perry.

Simon says, he doesn’t want to “get in the middle” of Idol execs and Paula but definitely misses her being on the show. He also believes Paula will always be able to find work.

So what’s next for Paula?

“I definitely want to do a talk show because it would be different,” says Abdul, who has shot a guest role on Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva and will host VH1′s Divas Live Sept. 17. “It would be a lot of fun variety with a ton of unexpected stuff and tributes to everyday people getting their big chance.”

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Even though Paula Abdul is leaving the show, American Idol will still have four judges, Fox chairman Peter Rice told the FOX Television Critics Association on Thursday.

“There is going to be a search,” he said. The search is for a permanent replacement, while there will be guest judges taking her place during the auditions.

According to Peter, the producers “were hoping” Abdul would come back. “We love Paula. She’s been a really wonderful part of the show for eight years.”

Sources say that Paula asked for a $20 million deal which producers were unwilling to meet. She also rejected a thirty percent raise.

According to FOX, guest judges including Victoria Beckham and Katy Perry will join Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi in the seven weeks of audition rounds, which starts Friday in Denver.

“We’ll have these guest judges do one week each during the audition [period]… there is no thought right now that any of these judges will be long term judge for us,” Rice said. “All of the people we are talking to have successful careers. I don’t even think they’d be available to judge full-time. We have now until January to introduce a new energy to the panel.”

There are also rumors that Kandi Burruss of The Real Housewives of Atlanta is being considered as a judge, but those are simply rumors for now.

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Speculations over Paula Abdul’s return to American Idol can finally be put to rest as she will not be returning as judge on American Idol, reports PEOPLE.

 “With sadness in my heart, I’ve decided not to return to Idol,” Abdul, 47, writes on her Twitter page. “I’ll miss nurturing all the new talent, but most of all being a part of a show that I helped from day one become an international phenomenon.”

She adds: “What I want to say most, is how much I appreciate the undying support and enormous love that you have showered upon me. I do, without any doubt, have the BEST fans in the entire world and I love you all.”

Paula’s reps have refused to comment except provide a confirmation that she is leaving. The show will begin taping for the 9th season, with auditions starting in Denver. 

FOX TV also released a statement saying, “Paula Abdul has been an important part of the American Idol family over the last eight seasons and we are saddened that she has decided not to return to the show,” “While Paula will not be continuing with us, she’s a tremendous talent and we wish her the best.”

With Paula gone, the three other judges Simon Cowell, Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi will return.

Tell us: Are you going to keep watching AI without Paula?

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American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi weds contractor boyfriend, Mike McCuddy after dating for a year and a half in Prospect Harbor, Maine, according to Usmagazine.com. McCuddy proposed on Dec. 8, 2008 on DioGuardi’s 38th birthday.

The ceremony was attended by very close friends and family members. There were no idol judges present. “They are absolutely in love with each other,” Pastor Nurse tells Us. “When I told him he could kiss the bride, everybody cheered. It was a very close, small family-type service.”

The newly married AI judge will return for season nine of American idol with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Ryan Seacrest later this summer.

Among DioGuardi’s hits have been “I Do Not Hook Up,” with Kelly Clarkson; “Ain’t No Other Man,” with Christina Aguilera; and “Pieces of Me,” with Ashlee Simspon-Wentz. DioGuardi, a talented songwriter is expected to work with Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town in August.

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